Hunters in Wisconsin and Minnesota are gearing up to take on the ultimate predator in the states' first organized wolf-hunting seasons.
Wisconsin's season begins Oct. 15 and runs through the end of February. Minnesota's season opens Nov. 3.
The states established wolf seasons earlier this year after President Barack Obama's administration removed Great Lakes wolves from the endangered species list. Animal advocates complain the wolf populations aren't strong enough to support a hunt, but farmers in both states have long complained about wolves attacking livestock.
Hunters will have their work cut out for them. Montana hunting guide Bud Martin said wolves are the most elusive animal he's ever hunted. He said most hunters will come back with nothing.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals refused to block the scheduled opening of Minnesota's inaugural wolf hunting season.
In an order Wednesday, a three-judge panel said two groups that sued to stop the hunt failed to show that letting the season proceed would cause irreparable harm.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves claimed in their lawsuit that the Department of Natural Resources failed to allow for adequate public comment before it adopted its regulations for the upcoming wolf season. The DNR countered that it received extensive public input.
Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney for the center, said she's deeply disappointed because the order means hundreds of wolves will suffer and die. She said they'll discuss whether to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.